The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a report on January 12, 2015 on its investigation into the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls in British Columbia.
The IACHR finds Canada is obligated under international human rights law to prevent the violence by taking measures to deal with poverty, access to housing and employment, and disproportionate criminalization.
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In 2014, the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) launched its Campaign of Solidarity with Aboriginal Women. We thank you for becoming part of our solidarity network and helping to spread the word about the human rights of Aboriginal women and girls.
On Monday January 12, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has released a groundbreaking report on its investigation into the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls in British Columbia. The investigation was requested by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and FAFIA in March 2012.
The IACHR has made crucial findings and recommendations that can help to address the crisis of violence again st Aboriginal women and girls.
Key findings and recommendations include:
- Canada is legally required to address the violence against Aboriginal women and girls fully and effectively. This is not a matter of choice or priorities. Canada’s obligations under international human rights law require:
1) elimination of the discrimination which causes the violence; and
2) an effective response from Canada’s institutions—including the police and justice system— when Aboriginal women and girls disappear or are murdered.
- The root causes of the high levels of violence against Aboriginal women and girls lie in a history of discrimination beginning with colonization and continuing today through laws and policies such as the Indian Act and the ongoing consequences of the residential school system.
- This history laid the foundations for the staggering violence Aboriginal women and girls face today, and contributes to the increased vulnerability of Aboriginal women and girls to violence through economic marginalization, social dislocation and psychological trauma.
- Canada MUST take effective measures to address risk factors that increase Aboriginal women’s and girls’ vulnerability to violence, including: combating the poverty of Aboriginal women and girls, improving education and employment, guaranteeing adequate housing, and addressing the over-criminalization of Aboriginal women and girls.
- There must be a national coordinated response to violence against Aboriginal women and girls. Both federal and provincial governments have legal obligations under international human rights law to respond to this crisis.
- The IACHR strongly supports a nationwide inquiry to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls. An inquiry must be developed and carried out with the full participation of Aboriginal women.
To read the full report go to: www.fafia-afai.org/en/iachr-report-released/ or to www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/Indigenous-Women-BC-Canada-en.pdf